Over in Hong Kong, the Hang Seng index jumped 1.11%.
But markets were mostly down in other regional markets. Japan’s Nikkei 225 was flat, and the Topix declined 0.38%. In South Korea, the Kospi traded lower by 0.31%.
In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 was also close to the flatline.
Shares of telecom company Aussie Broadband had their debut on the ASX, and rose as much as 2.22 Australian dollars per share — doubling on the issue price of 1 Australian dollar per share. The shares are currently trading at around 1.795 Australian dollars.
Rio Tinto, the world’s largest iron ore miner, posted a 5% drop in third-quarter shipments, and warned that the rate of recovery could slow further in most economies.
“Markets fear a slowdown in activity as new virus cases rise. Europe has reported its highest weekly numbers of new cases. More than half the European countries are now labelled as red, meaning travel restrictions are in place and more lockdowns are being introduced,” said Adelaide Timbrell, economist at ANZ Research, in a Friday note.
Meanwhile, sentiment was further dampened on the employment front in the U.S. The Labor Department said Thursday there were 898,000 first-time filers of jobless benefits in the prior week, higher than a Dow Jones estimate of 830,000.
Dollar strengthens on
Amid the negative sentiment, the U.S. dollar markedly strengthened against other major currencies as investors flocked to the safe-haven currency.
The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 93.760, jumping from levels above 93.4 the previous day.
“The USD is broadly stronger with the risk off mood resulting in a safe haven bid on the greenback,” wrote Rodrigo Catril, senior foreign exchange strategist at the National Australia Bank.
The Japanese yen traded at 105.28 per dollar, strengthening slightly from earlier. The Australian dollar changed hands at 0.7081, falling back from above 0.71 in previous days.
Oil prices declined in the morning of Asian trading hours, with international benchmark Brent crude futures down 0.51% to $42.95 per barrel. U.S. crude futures also edged down 0.34% to $40.82 per barrel.